Gaetz says country will be benefit from having speaker better than McCarthy

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U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on the House floor on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023 (Video screenshot)
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on the House floor on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023 (Video screenshot)

By Arjun Singh and Mary Lou Masters
Daily Caller News Foundation

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida spoke out after leading the motion to remove Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership position on Tuesday, and mentioned names he would consider voting for to replace him.

The House voted 216 to 210 to remove McCarthy from the speakership after Gaetz brought a motion to vacate against him Monday following the passage of the 47-day continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government. Though Gaetz told reporters he has “no desire” to hold the position, he floated the names of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota and several others who he’d consider supporting.

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“It’s to the benefit of this country that we have a better speaker of the house than Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy couldn’t keep his word. He made an agreement in January regarding the way Washington would work and he violated that agreement. We are $33 trillion in debt. We are facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits,” Gaetz told reporters. “Kevin McCarthy is a feature of the swamp. He has risen to power by collecting special interest money and redistributing that money in exchange for favors. We are breaking the fever now, and we should elect a speaker who’s better.”

Gaetz also mentioned Republican Reps. Jodey Arrington of Texas, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma and Mike Johnson of Louisiana as potential members to run for the speakership, and said he would consider asking former Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, he told reporters. The congressman also told reporters that he’s not afraid of being expelled following his successful effort in removing the speaker, and replied simply “no” when asked if he’s running for governor of Florida in 2026.

Only eight Republicans voted with 208 Democrats to oust McCarthy, including Gaetz and GOP Reps. Matt Rosendale of Montana, Ken Buck of Colorado, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Eli Crane of Arizona, Tim Burchett of Tennessee and Bob Good of Virginia, according to the House Clerk.

Gaetz further criticized McCarthy’s leadership during the spending fight to avoid a government shutdown when speaking to reporters following the vote. “I think the House of Representatives has been paralyzed for the last several decades as we’ve refused to pass a budget, as we’ve governed by continuing resolution and omnibus bill,” Gaetz said. “So I think that this represents the ripping off of the Band-Aid, and that’s what we need to do to get back on track.”

Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina has been named speaker pro tempore, and McCarthy confirmed to Punchbowl News that he will not run again.

Prior to McCarthy’s removal, the House blocked a motion to table the motion to vacate vote, brought by Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, with 218 nays to 208 yeas, according to the House clerk.

McCarthy did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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